Before Montreal, we visited Parc National de Plaisance, the one it was on our way and free for the day (Natural parks day in Quebec). It was a rainy day and a bit cold, and we were among the only few tourists there bold enough to face the weather. we walked around the natural area on the long 6km path. Only met another couple rushing to their car, but we had a nice time in clean, fresh air.
Montreal, as the largest city in Quebec region, impressed us not because of it’s wonderful architecture, but because of the welcoming people. This was the first time we received about twelve replies to our open CouchSurfing requests. We chose Pascale for the first two nights and we didn’t regret it at all, and also decided to spend a couple more nights in a small village close to Montreal (L’Assomption) after the main visit of the city, to relax and spend some good time in the sun and with a nice family (Fred, Rachel and Leon).
We started our city exploration on a rainy day and apparently with no chances of getting better. Pascale joined us for a walk around the Olympic park (that park where Nadia Comaneci got the first flawless score of “10” in gymnastics at the Olympics in 1976) but the fun part was squeezing all of us in the car. It was probably the first time when Frank, John’s truck, got used to its full capacity of 3 seats. We continued with the Redpath Museum (free entrance) where we spent enough time till the rain stopped. Then we walked up the hill to Chalet du Mont-Royal, and by the time we got there, the sky cleared and the sun started shining. We didn’t spend much time on the hill, as we were planning to take advantage of the good weather, so we walked down to the Monument a Sir George-Etienne Cartier where we were told we’d meet some drummers. The drummers were missing, but we found a bicycle race and tents with a lot of freebies. The rest of the good weather we spent walking up and down on Boulevard St. Laurent, a hipster area with a lot of nice murals and “antique” stores.
We took shelter from the rain for about 20min and headed back to our host, where we spent the lovely evening having a nice dinner in the company of a few other Couchsurfers and ended up with a few board games.
We missed a few areas of the city, but there is always time to go back in the future.
The next couple of days we spent with Fred and Rachel, and the little Leon, who turned 3 while we were there. I was glad I could help Fred with some small things around the house and also take part in bringing the new land mower to the house. They were a very jolly family and we relaxed quite well at their place before going further to Quebec City.